According to a report, the commission’s recommendation against the property’s rezoning doesn’t mean the end for the project. Zoning decisions are in the hands of Horry County Council, but this vote signals the council’s concern regarding the development.
“Does this really make sense, putting an RV park on 544?” commissioner Joey Ray asked.
Diamond Shores, the firm seeking the rezoning, plans to build the campground on 17.5 acres beside the Bojangles close to Pace Circle.
Rezoning the land to a destination park would allow the development of 161 RV camping sites, but Diamond Shores’ David Schwerd said that the number of sites would likely be cut down because the owner is keen to protect some oak trees in the area. The landowner also took the same strategy with the trees on the adjacent Bojangles.
In his presentation before the commission on Thursday evening, Schwerd said the developer would improve access to make sure visitors can quickly get to and from the camping area.
“There is a lot of camper traffic on 544 already,” Schwerd said. “This would be an option where they could actually go to this location without driving all the way down to the beach and adding traffic to 544 in sections that are closer to the beach.”
He also stated that the location was more favorable than other areas on the highway due to the less business traffic present there.
“If you were going to pick a section of 544 that would have the least amount of turning movements, this would be the section,” Schwerd said. “I know there’s been concern about traffic in this area, especially with campers coming in and out. There are other sections of 544 with a lot more volume, and campers are successfully able to navigate and make a left turn.”
However, commissioners were not convinced. Many expressed concerns about RVs making a left turn out of the campground and onto S.C. 544 and slowing their speed to make a right turn into the park.
“I mean, 544’s a racetrack, man,” Ray said.
Commissioner Burnett Owens, whose district includes the area, agreed with Ray regarding traffic concerns. He noted that making a left exit is already tricky.
The county staff suggested that the plan be approved if there is a deceleration route. However, the commission was not convinced.
The rezoning application was sent to the county council. The next council meeting will be on December 14.